Searching for the Truth about Ruth Ellis By Monica Weller

RUTH ELLIS-copyright photos of places in the story,may not be used without my permission

The Magdala windowPC Thompson, the off-duty police officer who happened to be in The Magdala on the night of the shooting, miles off his patch,and who arrested Ruth Ellis, told Detective Inspector Davies on 20th April 1955, that he had noticed a blonde woman wearing spectacles:

“She looked through a rippled type glass window of the saloon bar near the door…I could not see her face clearly as she was very close to the glass.”

My photograph shows an actual portion of the glass at the Magdala at that time. I tried, unsuccessfully, to look through from inside the building, and from outside, but could not distinguish anything from either side.

At the magistrates court PC Thompson stated:”I noticed a fair haired woman with spectacles looking through the saloon bar window.” He omits details about the rippled glass.

At the Old Bailey there were further subtle omissions. The rippled glass and Ruth’s appearance is omitted:”I noticed a woman looking through the saloon bar window…” Plaque on Magdala wallI took this photograph, for which I was given special permission, outside the Magdala pub in Hampstead. It shows the plaque on the wall (far left) that was erected to mark the position of the shooting of David Blakely on 10th April 1955, twenty feet downhill from the main entrance, where the shooting was previously said to have taken place.

‘Witness’ Mrs Gladys Kensington Yule could not possibly have seen the action at the far end of the pub from where she was standing at the junction of South Hill Park and Parliament Hill.

The plaque was stolen shortly before the Appeal which Muriel Jakubait brought in 2003 but later found by the police following the result of the unsuccessful Appeal. The plaque is no longer on display. Four screw holes (not to be mistaken for bullet holes) which held the plaque in position, are clearly visible.

Finely drilled screw holes show position of plaque, not to be mistaken for bullet holes

Original plaque, now removed from wall, incorrectly dated 1954. Finely drilled screw holes for it still visible, close to bullet holes.

Ruth Ellis’s final resting place, AmershamTo the left, out of picture, and overgrown by yew trees, is the position of Ruth Ellis’s grave in in St Mary’s churchyard, Amersham,Bucks.The headstone was destroyed in the 1980s.

Ruth lived here with George Ellis at his practice on Sanderstead Hill

Ruth lived here with George Ellis at his practice on Sanderstead Hill

Ruth Ellis’s home – Sanderstead in Surrey.

According to the stories spun and repeated for 50 years, Ruth [Neilson] first met George Ellis at the Court Club in London in 1950. I now have evidence that Ruth had actually known George for several years before. A Sanderstead doctor who knew George Ellis saw Ruth at George’s Sanderstead Hill house/dental practice well before 1950.

David Blakely’s graveDavid Blakely’s grave in Penn churchyard, Buckinghamshire. The inscription on the headstone reads: “He was great of heart, comely and courageous.”

Elm Cottage, Penn

Elm Cottage in Penn – spy Donald Maclean’s family home.

Granneys, Penn

Rare photograph of ‘Granneys’ the Blakely family’s rented home in Witheridge Lane, Penn – given to me by a lady who stayed there during school holidays in the 1940s. Curiously the Blakelys renamed it ‘Albi‘ for the duration of their short stay, then renamed it Granneys when they moved out. The Griffith-Jones family lived closeby in ‘Drews’. Their son Mervyn Griffith-Jones assisted the prosecuting counsel, Christmas Humphreys, to hang Ruth Ellis at her trial. Griffith-Jones also prosecuted at the Stephen Ward trial in 1963. To complete the upper crust, establishment enclave in Witheridge Lane in Penn, Rt Hon The Earl Howe of RAC  fame, lived at ‘Hatchitts‘ opposite ‘Granneys’.

Donald Maclean was buried in Penn churchyard.

Beaconshaw, Maclean’s Tatsfield home

Beaconshaw‘ was Soviet Super Spy Donald Maclean’s Tatsfield home, on the Surrey/Kent border, December 1950 to May 1951. According to Tatsfield residents, he often travelled back from London on the 706 Green Line bus and drank alone at the Old Ship. Since the publication of our book, I have discovered that Ruth used to visit Tatsfield. According to the book Tales of Tatsfield Ruth was an acquaintance of its author, the late Doris Geary. She wrote, “On the morning of the hanging, together with my husband…we took our car and drove along the Kent coast, in an effort to forget time and what was happening elsewhere. I kept telling myself it was not really my worry, but I had known Ruth as a kind, goodlooking woman; we had laughed and talked together, and we had liked each other.”

re8.jpgThe Magdala pub in Hampstead, today. The shooting of David Blakely took place outside


re2.jpgGoodwood Court, near Harley Street in London. Desmond Cussen lived here in the 1950s.

re5.jpgDapdune’ in Garlands Road, Leatherhead, Surrey. Desmond Cussen’s place of birth and family home until 1951.

Home Guard headquarters in Leatherhead, Surrey

This house, next door to Dapdune in Leatherhead, was commandeered by the government during the 2nd World War for the Home Guard’s headquarters. It belonged to General Ironside, one of Churchill’s generals. My picture shows the late Mr John Steel outside the house. He served in the Home Guard with Desmond Cussen – a fascinating titbit omitted by authors of previous books about Ruth Ellis.

re6.jpgSite of the Little Club in Knightsbridge, London, where Ruth Ellis was manageress, 1953 – 1954

re3.jpgThe White Hart at Brasted in Kent was more like a private club.


  1. Mrs Ellis would not have been found guilty today and it must be time to right this wrong.

    Comment by Ian Forsyth — July 5, 2008 @ 10:17 am | Reply

  2. Hello Ian
    Thank you for your comment Ian. Let’s hope that some national publicity soon will go some way to help my campaign to clear Ruth Ellis’s name.
    Monica Weller

    Comment by copperknob — July 5, 2008 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

    • ruth ellis should never have hanged no wonder people were against it so much hope the campaign carries on i’m going to the magdala pub weds i’ll think of her

      Comment by david w — June 13, 2011 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  3. I often think of Ruth. Hoping she will soon be cleared. Its time to rethink her case. I wish you all the luck in the world.

    Comment by wendy jones — August 11, 2008 @ 9:25 pm | Reply

  4. I have read the book. It was a terrible thing to happen to a young woman, and to leave her young children motherless. What were people thinking? It happened before I was born, but my mother told me about it many years ago. Her memory of it was one of disgust and disbelief that the sentence would be carried out. Thank God hanging in this country has now been confined to history books were I hope it stays.
    I hope that the truth comes out for Ruth one day. Her sister has fought long and hard for her and has great courage.
    Rest in Peace Ruth.

    Comment by Heather — September 10, 2008 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

  5. Execution is an abominable act and no human being however supposedly bestowed has any right whatsoever to make the decision that it be carried out. The act (killing) bestows the very same intent in every single facet as the deed under scrutiny. A society that has moved on cannot ever engage in these barbaric actions and those that do, while parading themselves as somehow exemplary, are pathetic and ought really to be ostracised from the civilised world. Retributive emotions are more deeply embedded than many assume and an appeal to such, while claiming that a woman left hanging from a rope for an hour is somehow right, needs to be examined from a psycho-pathological viewpoint because there is certainty in stating that such people are insane and the saddest of examples there can ever be.

    Comment by David — February 21, 2009 @ 12:45 am | Reply

  6. did ruth ellis kill david blakely?

    Comment by Adam — April 29, 2009 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

    • Hi Adam
      If you have read our book RUTH ELLIS MY SISTER’S SECRET LIFEand the information on my blog I think you can work out for yourself the answer to your question.
      Thanks for your interest.
      Monica Weller

      Comment by copperknob — April 30, 2009 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  7. Ruth Ellis shoud not have been found guilty of murder and her execution was a travesty of justice.

    Comment by Tudor — September 10, 2009 @ 8:07 pm | Reply

    • Thank you. In response to the second part of your comment concerning Warrington which I have edited, Ruth Ellis did not spend part of her childhood in that town.
      Monica Weller

      Comment by copperknob — September 12, 2009 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  8. Hi there.

    I recently watched Dance with a Stranger with Miranda Richardson playing Ruth Ellis (my name’s Miranda too :-). I saw it years ago and have it on VHS (I love my video collection before anyone makes a COMMENT!!) and it has always had this strange impact on me…

    I will definitely buy the book her sister wrote because I see many similarities with Ruth and me (not that I’m going to shoot anyone!!!) and that film still remains one of my favourite films. I hope in time her name will be cleared for her families sake.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Miranda — October 7, 2009 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

    • Hello Miranda
      You will notice I have edited your lengthy comment. I look forward to reading your comments again when you have read our book.
      Best wishes
      Monica Weller

      Comment by copperknob — October 7, 2009 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

  9. All I can feel is pity for this woman…28 years is a very short period of time to live…
    My respects for her and I just hope the case can be reopened, as I have read somebody is trying to.

    Comment by armando — March 10, 2010 @ 1:03 am | Reply

  10. last night on tv a programme about myra hindley.
    how sad that ruth had to die … and yet hindley had the luxury of life after her crimes.

    Comment by james — March 10, 2010 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

  11. Got to get the book now. Didn’t know there was one. She deserves a proper grave stone and without doubt a pardon.

    Comment by richard grady — June 21, 2010 @ 12:03 am | Reply

  12. Questions keep on coming and perhaps always will.

    Comment by IAN — October 18, 2010 @ 8:45 pm | Reply

    • Hello Ian
      Thank you for your interesting comments sent over the last few days – too many to uplift on to my blog. Sorry.
      Monica Weller

      Comment by copperknob — October 19, 2010 @ 9:14 pm | Reply

  13. I am deeply disturbed by the Ruth Ellis case…I feel ashamed of our country for permitting this terrible act to have taken place. I pray that a change to manslaughter or a pardon will happen one day. I feel so sorry about Ruth, her children and family…

    Comment by David — March 22, 2011 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for showing an interest David. I have edited your comment.
      When I researched the story thoroughly and wrote the first draft I wrote 190,000 words. The actual book contains 90,000 words. Think about it.
      Monica Weller

      Comment by copperknob — March 23, 2011 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  14. Hi Monica, Further to my comment and your response. Would you consider a reprint of your book…? I was intrigued by your book, and I would so much like to know the answer to a number of questions. For example how did Desmond Cussen fade out of the story so easily?. Why did the police have apparently such little interest in him. Yours with sincere care and interest. David.

    Comment by David — March 23, 2011 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  15. I too have just seen the film dance with a stranger, and must admit it had a strange effect on me, i was only eight years old at the time this happend but remember all the publicity regarding it.I would like to find out how to get the book The Ruth Ellis story, and what ever happend to Desmon Cussen after. jo

    Comment by josephine — June 4, 2011 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

  16. I too would like to know what happened to Mr Cussen and Ruth’s son. Did he adpot him seeing how he was such a father figure to the boy or was that part of the drama in the film… Dance with a stranger? Thanx

    Comment by Miranda — June 8, 2011 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  17. Dear Monica

    Firsly I want to apologise for my previous comments. I had no idea what it was really like for Ruth (having nearly finished reading ‘My sister’s secret life”)…OMG it’s a shocking read and so very VERY sad. What happened to Muriel and Ruth growing up and the injustice of her case. There was no case… it was all fabrication and no other person was made accountable for it? And there’s me thinking Cussen was such a good man who was always there for her and her son!!! He disappeared after Ruth died and never saw Andre again!!!

    The film ‘Dance with a stranger’ did move me when I first saw it and is still up there with one of my favourite films of all time but how I was wrong to believe it!! OK some of it had snipbits of the story leading up to her relationship with Blakely the Club et al but nothing compared to Muriel’s account and what REALLY happened.

    I couldn’t put the book down. But I hope that one day Ruth’s name will be exonerated and she will finally be able to rest in peace.

    God Bless you for continuing for the truth. Miranda x

    Comment by Miranda — June 14, 2011 @ 8:13 am | Reply

  18. I’ve recently become fascinated by this case and have read all I can find. Such a sad story for all involved. I feel very strongly about her children and find their stories utterly heartbreaking. I was wondering if there were any photos to be found anywhere as I’ve failed in my quest.

    Comment by Victoria — June 1, 2014 @ 8:45 pm | Reply

  19. I’m playing Sylvia in a production of Amanda Whittingtons play ‘The Thrill of Love’. I’m doing my research and of course watched the film which I found very dissatisfying. Now that I have begun reading ‘My Sisters Secret Life’ . I’m enthralled. Pieces are beginning to fall into place. I’ve just happened upon your site. Sylvia, I know is a fictitious character, but the play I believe says more of the real Ruth. I’d love to know what you think of it. Thank you. I shall keep in touch.

    Comment by Angela Edwards — October 5, 2014 @ 9:31 am | Reply

    • Sounds good. Where will the play be performed?

      Comment by copperknob — October 6, 2014 @ 7:31 am | Reply

      • The play will be performed at ‘The Little Theatre’ Leicester
        LE1 6PW in February 2015. We begin rehearsals in December. Thanks for taking an interest. I’ll stay in touch. Best Wishes Angela

        Comment by Angela Edwards — October 10, 2014 @ 10:07 am | Reply

        • Good Luck Angela. I have posted the Programme for the play when it was performed at St James Theatre in London, and also the piece I was asked to write.

          Comment by copperknob — October 10, 2014 @ 11:15 am | Reply

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